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Local Universities proactively combating hazing

Another Canadian school is dealing with a hazing issue.

An employee has filed the report against the Dalhousie University Men’s Rugby Team.

Closer to home, at University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University have a zero tolerance policy against hazing and both have implemented policies and regulations.

Peter Baxter, the Director of Athletics and Recreation at WLU, says the school now has an extensive education program.

“We have a hazing and harassment policy both within athletics and recreation as well as a new written Student Code of Conduct. Our Department of Athletics will go through the entire hazing policy with each of the teams prior to the start of each year,” says Baxter. “Each individual athlete needs to sign off on the policy.”

Director of Athletic and Recreation at UW Roly Webster says they too, have policy in place.

“We have an orientation program that is stressed to them, as well as other behavioral expectations,” says Webster. “We have what’s called an ‘inner-University Council’, which has captain representatives from all the teams, and again those are the leaders amongst all our athletes, that those expectations are set with, so they know whether you’re a first-year or a captain, the entire roster would understand the expectations.”

“These have been laid out to them throughout their time as a Waterloo Warrior, so they also know we have what’s called student athletes at risk policy, so if you or one of your teammates seem to be at risk, there would be a process to come forward and raise that issue, whether it be hazing or otherwise,” says Webster.

In 2012, the Laurier Men’s Baseball team was suspended for a hazing incident. Baxter says the team was educated and ended up helping other university teams.

“The team itself was involved with doing some peer education learning about hazing; the causes of it, and through that, they ended up being the leaders in term of educating the other teams on the issue of hazing,” says Baxter.

HazingPrevention.org, defines hazing as: “It’s any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.”

Emily Pualwan with the organization says hazing can be a dangerous slippery slope.

“To start off with one activity that may seem innocent enough, but in some cases, especially with young adults, or even folks in high-school it can involve very quickly into very unhealthy activities,” says Pualwan.

She adds many may think hazing can bring teammates tightly together, but science shows that’s not the case.

“Hazing can actually tear teams apart. The psychological trauma, and sometimes the physical trauma causes a number of students to drop out of the sport or activity”

“There have been a number of directly related hazing deaths on campuses just last year [in the United States],” notes Pualwan. “We had I think three, and there are already some this year.”